How To Say Babylon: A Jamaican Memoir (Paperback)
  • How To Say Babylon: A Jamaican Memoir (Paperback)
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How To Say Babylon: A Jamaican Memoir (Paperback)

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Paperback 352 Pages
Published: 23/05/2024
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Waterstones Says

A searing and unflinching memoir of a radicalised childhood in Jamaica, How to Say Babylon recounts the tyrannical reign of Safiya Sinclair's father and how she escaped his strict Rastafari ideals.

An extraordinary and inspiring memoir of family, education and resilience, from award-winning poet Safiya Sinclair.

There was more than one way to be lost, more than one way to be saved.

Born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, where luxury hotels line pristine white sand beaches, Safiya Sinclair grew up guarding herself against an ever-present threat. Her father, a volatile reggae musician and strict believer in a militant sect of Rastafari, railed against Babylon, the corrupting influence of the immoral Western world just beyond their gate. To protect the purity of the women in their family he forbade almost everything: nowhere but home and school, no friends but this family and no future but this path.

Her mother did what she could to bring joy to her children with books and poetry. But as Safiya’s imagination reached beyond its restrictive borders, her burgeoning independence brought with it ever greater clashes with her father. Soon she realised that if she was to live at all, she had to find some way to leave home. But how?

In seeking to understand the past of her family, Safiya Sinclair takes readers inside a world that is little understood by those outside it and offers an astonishing personal reckoning. How to Say Babylon is an unforgettable story of a young woman’s determination to live life on her own terms.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN: 9780008491321
Number of pages: 352
Weight: 240 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 27 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

‘An electrifying memoir’ OBSERVER ‘A story about hope, imagination and resilience’ GUARDIAN 'Vivid and empowering' GILLIAN ANDERSON ‘Heart-stoppingly gripping’ BERNARDINE EVARISTO ‘Dazzling’ TARA WESTOVER ‘Glimmering … laced with poetic voice’ TIME ‘Clear-eyed and courageous’ GUARDIAN ‘A breathless, scorching memoir’ NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW ‘Electrifying’ SPECTATOR ‘Lushly observed’ WASHINGTON POST ‘Stirring' ELLE ‘To read it is to believe that words can save’ MARLON JAMES ‘Unforgettable, mesmerising, heartbreaking and heartwarming' ELIF SHAFAK ‘Powerful … moving’ EVENING STANDARD ‘Sinclair's lush, lyrical language makes everything feel alive’ RAVEN LEILANI ‘A memoir of liberation’ IRISH TIMES ‘Stunningly written’ iNEWS ‘An instant contemporary Caribbean classic’ MONIQUE ROFFEY ‘Atmospheric and completely absorbing’ DIANA EVANS ‘Essential’ JESMYN WARD ‘Gut-wrenching, soul-stirring, electrifying’ NICOLE DENNIS-BENN ‘Immersive, imagistic, honest’ RAYMOND ANTROBUS ‘Destined to become a feminist classic’ LISA ALLEN-AGOSTINI ‘Heart-warming, tender and fierce’ LILY DUNN

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Katy Wheatley

“Stunning Memoir”

I was utterly absorbed by this memoir. I didn't know very much at all about Rastafarianism and Sinclair offers us a tremendously powerful journey through her life and that of her family with the constraints that... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 4

“Beautifully harrowing”

How to Say Babylon is a harrowing and heartbreaking account of the authors upbringing under her father's oppressive Rastafarian faith.

The history of Jamaica and the insight into the Rastafari way of life,... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 3

“My favourite book of the year”

Words cannot express my delight. I fell head-first into this book and barely came up for air until it was finished. This memoir is written like fiction, and Sinclair is an excellent storyteller. There are the... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 3

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